“Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.” (Romans 12:9 MSG)
Below is an excerpt from my personal journal from May 1st. It is in the raw but the message is from the rawness of my heart. Yet, I hope you hear my journey from death to life in the words. Countless other people are on different yet same journeys of grief and hurt. I pray my journey brings hope to just one other person. In His Hands, Tress
Today is the first day of May. The month of spring and new life and warmer weather. A time when people naturally have a bigger smile, laugh a little freer, and have a little more hope as the winter has come to an end.
Today, I plant my feet firm in the spiritual meaning of a May 1st beginning for me. March and April are done and going down in my autobiographical history as two of the most horrid months of my life.
Now, however, spring is here, new life is shining before me, the warmth of my heart is returning and maybe, just maybe, my smile and laughter is being unburied from beneath of my soul crushing grief.
As I sit here typing, I can hear the birds chirping, the sun is shining in, and I am looking forward to a time of worship at tonight’s GO Gathering. This is such a precious time for me tonight - a time of hugging people I have not seen in three weeks; hugging and loving them for their prayers and support and understanding these past nine weeks – even as they are on their own difficult journeys of life.
I read these words of Brennan Manning’s today: The smiling Christ heals and liberates. With newly discovered delight in ourselves, we go out to our brothers and sisters as we are, to where they are, and minister the smiling Christ to them. Not far away from us, there is someone who is afraid and needs our courage; someone who is lonely and needs our presence. There is someone hurt needing our healing; unloved, needing the support of our shared witness. When we bring a smile to the face of someone in pain, we have brought Christ to him.
So today I must be thankful for the many, many ‘Smiling Christs’ who have spoken courage to my fear, been a still and quiet presence in my darkness, given love and hugs and warmth to my cold heart, and who’s smiles have evoked even the faintest smile from me. You have brought Christ to me.
And now it is time for me to return to the person God created me and redeemed me to be: Tress the Smiling Christ. Just as I am going to just where they are. In that, there is healing and liberation.
I lift my prayers, God, to You! You are a mighty God, everlasting, before and in and waiting in all the events of our lives. Thank you. Thank you for your patience, your love, your understanding, your acceptance, your knowledge of my inner self. Forgive me for my questions, my fears, my impure thoughts, my rebellion and the many more ‘my’s’ that I seem to be oblivious of. Set your law in my heart and your grace on my tongue. Give me your eyes as I look into the world, as I serve and live, to not simply see my own pain and journey but the pain, needs, and journey of all people that I encounter. Quicken my heart in how I can represent You to them, show them the love of Jesus, to be a Smiling Christ to them. That all I do would bring glory and honor to You, the Perfect Smiling Jesus! Amen.